The only thing we have to fear is Tipper's bop

August 23, 2000

The only thing we have to fear is Tipper's bop

I don't know which was more depressing last week, the sad saga of the doomed Russian sub Kursk or the Democratic National Convention.

Al Gore and Joe Lieberman determinedly left Los Angeles last week with their work clearly cut out for them: Keeping a lid on Tipper. There were some very uncomfortable parallels between a submarine disaster and Tipper's Thursday night center-stage cross between a Hopi rain dance and the funky chicken.

When Gore was talking about needing a post-convention bounce, I can't believe this is what he had in mind.

Based on the polls, though, it was good strategy. If you notice, what Gore did was stack Thursday night with speakers and entertainment that were so unbearable that his own speech actually seemed good by comparison.

At least if you were able to make it to the speech. I really couldn't get past Tipper's dance, not to mention the Gores' 20-minute lip lock.


I wish political people would not try to do normal-person things like dance and kiss, because frankly they are not normal people and they always look hideously awkward when they try. Remember the crash-and-burn result when the elder George Bush went grocery shopping?

"What is this?"

"It's a cash register, sir."

"What does it do?"

"It's where we keep the money."

"Amazing what we can do with technology these days."

Of course, if there is one thing that makes our politicians look good, it's the Russian politicians. How heartbreaking it was to watch the Russian people watch the submarine horror unfold as their government set records for boneheadedness.

First, Putin was too busy on his vacation learning to water ski to come home and take charge. Then the Russian military refused to ask for help, saying its rescue equipment was just as good as the West's. For the record, it took the Norwegian divers a day to do what the Russian divers couldn't do in a week.

Then there was the classic string of misinformation, from what caused the accident to the likelihood of survivors.

It got me to thinking - just look at all the technological debacles post-Soviet Russia has given us, from subs to space stations. It makes you wonder, during the Cold War, well - what in the heck were we so worried about?

Sure, they had missiles. So what? Wile E. Coyote had missiles too. But they always flew crazily around like a balloon and came back to land on him. Who knew that Acme Co. was really a Russian communal directorate?

But this turn of events also has me worried.

Because I believe that while there was probably not much of a chance that the Soviets could have bombed our cities on purpose, the chances of today's Russia bombing us by accident may be quite good indeed.

Suppose Putin falls off his water skis and the tow rope becomes tangled in the propeller which, being of inferior quality, shears in half and goes flying across the water where it frightens a horse that bursts through a fence the proletariat wasn't paid enough to build to high standards and kicks down a poor grade of concrete surrounding a missile silo causing the rebars to short-circuit the wiring that fires off a MIRVed SS-18 heavy, which goes in search of a crazily moving target and tragically wipes out Tipper Gore.

Let's see the Norwegians get them out of that one.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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